The Montreal Canadiens are absolutely ravaged at the moment by injuries and COVID, and bad turned to worse today when forward Cedric Paquette didn’t finish Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers due to a neck injury, per TVA’s Renaud Lavoie. Montreal dressed just 11 forwards and five defensemen for that game, a 5-2 loss. They had just three players dressed with a cap hit greater than $1MM, with the majority of their lineup filled out by rookies and AHL call-ups. Paquette played a third-line role, centering Lukas Vejdemo and Alex Belzile. Paquette’s only played in 18 games this season, missing some time due to injury and suspension, but he only has one assist while averaging 9:11 per game. More injury news is certainly concerning for the 28-year-old Paquette, who signed a one-year deal with Montreal this offseason.
More notes from around the league on the first day of 2022:
- With the Minnesota Wild missing captain Jared Spurgeon from tonight’s Winter Classic due to a lower-body injury, The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweets that right wing Mats Zuccarello will serve as the third alternate captain for the outdoor spectacle. Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno are healthy and will serve as the other two alternates, as per usual. Zuccarello fought back from an early-season injury to have one of the most productive starts of his career, posting 24 points through 24 games. The Norwegian winger will likely reprise his role on the team’s top line, playing alongside Kirill Kaprizov and Ryan Hartman.
- The Canadiens aren’t playing again until January 12th at the earliest as their entire upcoming four-game homestand is postponed. The team won’t complain due to the aforementioned excessive amount of lineup absences, but now, head coach Dominique Ducharme says that a five-day quarantine for the entire team upon their return to Montreal is possible and will be discussed. While it won’t affect their playing schedule, it could give a chance for players to stay healthy and help their lineup get back to having experienced NHLers in the mix.
- UPDATE: the Canadiens and Laval Rocket have officially paused all team activities through January 6, following up on Ducharme’s statement from earlier.